A FAIR DEAL FOR ALL
- 7 REFORMS 21 KEY POLICIES -
(April 17 2001)
THE VISION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN
The 20th Century was blighted by war and hostility. The world's common goal for the 21st Century is to make it a century of creativity, in which people live in peace in freedom, plenty and harmony, and with respect for every individual. The DPJ's duty, for generations past, present and future, is to set Japan on that track and to move forward from the post war era.
After fifty years of LDP politics, the DPJ's task is to bring to an end the accumulated centralization of authority and deeply entrenched vested interests structure. Transparency, impartiality and fairness will be the new basis of Japan's policy-making. The DPJ will make policy based on respect for Japan's citizens, for the market and for the regions.
The DPJ will develop the spirit of the Japanese constitution and bring to life the ideals enshrined in it, particularly the concept that power resides in the people, and its key principles of respect for human rights and the pursuit of peace.
The DPJ's aim for the 19th House of Councillors Election is to bring an end to LDP politics and to create a new political landscape. The DPJ seeks to return political power to the people of Japan by overturning the LDP-Komeito-Conservative majority, dissolving the House of Representatives and bringing about an early General Election.
The DPJ seeks to put Japan's citizens at center stage, and to build a society built on the ideals of freedom, harmony and fairness for all. This is why the DPJ seeks to defeat the present ruling coalition in the House of Councillors Election, to change the government and to change Japan.
THE SEVEN PILLARS OF DPJ REFORM
The last half-century has brought Japan prosperity and plenty. Yet many people now feel great uncertainty and unease about the future:
First is the uncertainty people feel about their own future in old age. Not only are the three key areas of public provision for old age - pensions, medical care and nursing care - insufficient, but with more and more elderly people and fewer and fewer children, the foundations of these pillars look increasingly shaky.
Second is the unease people feel about Japan's public finances. People recognize that the burden of Japan's runaway national debt, now approaching ?･700 trillion, will, eventually, impact on the ordinary taxpayer. Doubts about the country's finances add to people's uncertainty about the future.
Third is unease about the economy and about employment. Even 10 years after the bursting of the bubble, a string of "biggest ever" economic packages has failed to save the economy, instead taking it to the brink of bankruptcy. The threat of unemployment and bankruptcy now casts fear into many hearts.
Unease about the economy is further linked to the aging of society and the state of public finances. People feel unable to leave their future in the government's hands, and are concerned about the burden of future taxes. This is why people are cutting back on spending and deferring consumption. Sluggish consumption in turn heightens the fear of unemployment. To dispel such fears, there is no choice but to deal with people's doubts concerning old age provision and public finance.
In the following section, the DPJ offers seven concrete proposals to deal with these problems as the seven pillars of the DPJ's comprehensive reform program.
"Social Security Reform" and "Reform of the Working Environment" are presented separately, but effectively deal with the same problem - maintaining incomes. "Public Works Reform" and "Reform of Public Finances", taken together, form the core of plans to get public finances back on the right track. "The IT revolution" and "Reform of Education" look to build a better and brighter future. And "the Decentralization of Power" is essential to bring about these other reforms.
The seven pillars of the DPJ's program of reform are not independent from one another. Together, they represent a solution to the fear and uncertainty that people feel about their future, about the state of the nation's finances, about the economy and about employment. Together, this comprehensive program of reform represents the best hope for Japan's future.
We promise that a future DPJ-led Government, will work unceasingly to make these reforms a reality.
1. THE 1ST PILLAR OF REFORM - DECENTRALIZATION OF POWER
Revitalizing the Energy of the Regions
The excessive centralization of power in Japan; seen for example in the central government's grip of discretionary power over local authorities and local finances, has sapped Japan's local communities' independence and freedom. The DPJ will transfer power and resources away from central government and back to local authorities, to restore vitality to local communities and give local people the authority to organize their own lives. The DPJ believes that local services are best provided locally. Issues that cannot be handled by individual prefectures are best handled at regional level. Accordingly, a leaner and more flexible central government should deal only with issues affecting Japan as a whole, such as diplomacy, defense and monetary policy.
Decentralization cannot be achieved overnight, but will require the following steps:
1) Reform of Relationships Between Prefectures, Towns, Cities and Villages
Most funds for local projects will be taken out of the hands of central government and given instead to local authorities in a single sum covering all central government allocations. Financial powers devolved in this step will include spending on all roads (except routes 1 to 58), agricultural projects, town planning, compulsory education and social welfare. The funds will be released from central Ministries and agencies, releasing tax money from self-serving and inefficient vertical administration.
2) Letting Local Authorities Spend Their Own Money
The second step will be to give local authorities a fixed proportion of income tax paid by people in their areas and allowing them to decide for themselves where and how their money should be spent. At present, the proportion of local to national public spending is 1:2, while the proportion of local to national taxation is 2:1. The DPJ will bring this situation closer to balance at 1:1, allowing local taxpayers to see a clear relationship between tax paid and service received. The DPJ will simplify the arrangements for allocating central government money to local authorities. A new system will reward local authorities that make themselves more efficient, while making adjustments only for regions in need of assistance. The system will require a new method for allocating a single payment from central government to the regions.
3) Adjusting the Size of Local Authorities
In parallel with these measures, the size of local authorities will be adjusted (usually enlarged) to reflect their increased responsibilities. Mergers of local authorities will however not be forced. Residents will decide for themselves the appropriate scale for providing services and the shape of local decision-making bodies. A new law facilitating referendums will be a positive part of this process. Mergers of local authorities will not by themselves return power to ordinary people. The DPJ will therefore think creatively about ways to encourage participation by the public in local administration and how to reflect citizens' views in decision-making.
4) New Regional Authorities
The last step will be to introduce regional (multi-prefecture) authorities. The establishment of these authorities will be accompanied by a second review of allocations to local authorities. The form of Japan's administration will be changed to a more decentralized and federal structure. After the steps outlined above, public works spending would already be handled by local authorities. Alongside regional authorities, a body of prefecture governors and representatives of prefecture assemblies will handle issues affecting several prefectures. Thereafter, the distinction between national and local taxes will be faded out. Voters will be able to elect regional governors and regional assembly members directly.
2. THE 2ND PILLAR OF REFORM - PUBLIC WORKS REFORM
Breaking the Vested Interests Structure Surrounding Public Works
It is essential to change the way Japan provides social infrastructure. At present, the most basic elements of sound financial management, such as cost-benefit analysis, consideration of value-for-money or mechanisms to balance priorities between various budgets, simply do not exist. High cost structures, vested interests and widespread collusion have been protected, but waste is rampant, and the country has built up a mountain of debt. All of this has occurred in the name of economic stimulus. The DPJ will drastically reform public works spending, making efficiency the priority in providing social infrastructure. The money saved will be used to cover deficiencies in employment policy; strengthen social security; and tackle national debt.
1) Cutting Spending on Public Works by 30% over Five Years
Japan spends 6% of its GDP on public works. Other developed countries spend between 2 and 4%. In Japan, public works spending is twice as high as spending on social security. In other developed countries, it is about half. Because of collusion between politicians, officials and construction companies, Japan's public works are high cost and many are of dubious value. While ensuring that the country provides the necessary social infrastructure, the DPJ will reduce public works spending by 30% over 5 years, by eradicating collusion, forcing down costs, cutting waste and adopting PFI (the Private Finance Initiative) as a model for government-private sector partnership.
2) Using the Efficiency of the Private Sector to Provide Social Infrastructure
PFI will provide high quality service, make use of private finance and expertise and reduce the financial burden on the public. Guidelines and model enterprises will be developed to encourage local authorities to adopt PFI. Existing laws, regulations and "administrative guidance" that stand in the way of PFI will be amended. PFI will also go some way to offset the deflationary effects of reducing public works spending.
3) Ending the Confusion Surrounding Cancelled Public Works
The cancellation of large public works projects can have a major impact on local communities. The DPJ will establish a system to relieve the negative effects, for example compensating households that suffer hardship or financial loss and making sure projects that would benefit local communities are not lost. The DPJ will act to counter the fear of unemployment from reduced public works spending. Concrete measures will include employment and skills training, structural reform which targets job-creation and policies to revitalize agriculture.
4) From Concrete Dams to Green Dams
The DPJ's policy to preserve water will depend not on concrete dams, but on measures to conserve forests and natural environments, as "green dams". Measures, such as direct payments, to promote forestry will create jobs in the countryside.
5) Letting Local People Decide What Public Works They Need
Japan's central government has its fingers on the finance of every single public works project in Japan. The DPJ will create a system to plan public works in a comprehensive and systematic way, and, as mentioned above, will allocate all funds from central government to local authorities in a single sum. With these changes, local communities will be in charge of their own public works. Central government will still have responsibility for routes 1 to 58, for rivers flowing through more than one region, for major airports and ports and for the protection of forests. These reforms will be accompanied by changes to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
6) Sweeping Review of Taxes for Public Works
At present, the national budget for public works is divided between 16 uncoordinated medium and long-term plans! There are separate budgets and separate processes for roads, airports, rivers, parks, sewers and residential accommodation for example. No attempt is made to coordinate spending for example on roads, railways and airports so that they work together as a system. Ministries' highest priority is just to ensure that their budgets are used up. The DPJ will end this duplication and waste, producing a single public works budget and developing competition in public works.
7) Agricultural Spending for Consumers and Farmers - Ending Control of Agricultural Spending by Politicians, Bureaucrats and Public Corporations
Japanese agriculture is drifting in a sea of inefficiency and waste. One reason why policy to revitalize agriculture has had no impact is that the real purpose of agricultural public works spending is to look after public corporations. The same public corporations happen to provide post-retirement jobs for officials and happen to be part of the LDP's electoral campaign machine. The DPJ will make policy on agricultural spending based on the needs of consumers and farmers.
8) Ending Wasteful Spending on Public Works
The issue of new government debt is banned under the Public Finance Law. But "debt finance for public works" is exempted, giving the Government a loophole to spend beyond Japan's means. The government also adds to Japan's national debts year after year, using "special laws". The result is that the Government issues new debt, regardless of the Public Finance Law, both to finance public works and to cover additional budget deficits. The result is that debts are growing out of control. The DPJ will revise the Public Finance Law to end the distinction between debt finance for public works and other debt financing as well as reducing public works spending.
9) Ending "Dango" Bid Rigging and the Use of Paper Companies in Tendering
To reduce the high cost of public works, Japan must reform its tendering system, which is riddled with bid rigging cartels (dango) and bribes. The DPJ will tighten the Anti-Monopoly Law and strengthen fines for illegal tendering by amending the Civil Code. Penalties for collusion, such as the use of temporary bans on future bids, will be increased. The "specified tender system", convenient cover for bid rigging, will be banned. To introduce competitive tendering to all public works the DPJ will amend the Local Authorities Law and the Accounting Law. The DPJ will reform the tendering process, making it compulsory for bids to be made public and introducing checks to eliminate tendering by paper companies. The DPJ will limit amakudari ("descent from heaven", where public officials take post-retirement jobs in firms they were supposed to have been regulating objectively on behalf of the public). The DPJ's work to outlaw bidding cartels will include cartels created by the bureaucracy.
3. THE 3RD PILLAR OF REFORM - SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM
Building a Social Safety Net
The uncertainty people feel about social security, such as pensions, healthcare and nursing care, is central to their fears for the future and is a major source of mistrust in politics. As we enter an era of fewer children and more elderly people, it is important to allay the fears of younger people concerning social security and to build a social security system that fits Japan's changing circumstances. The DPJ will guarantee a minimum level of income through pensions, income support and other measures. Public medical and nursing services will be provided closer to those in need; at a local level for nursing care, and by prefectures for healthcare. The DPJ will build a social security system in which costs are shared by society through a mix of insurance and individual contributions.
1) Full Government Funding for Basic State Pensions
At present, two-thirds of the basic state pension is financed by insurance and a third by the government. The DPJ will ensure that by 2004, basic state pensions will be paid for entirely from general tax revenue, reducing the role of insurance to zero. The DPJ will guarantee the present level of the basic state pension (67,017 yen per month), while national insurance premiums (13,300 yen per month) will be phased out.
For employees' pensions, employers' contributions towards welfare pension insurance will be reduced from 17.35% to 4%. How the tax that replaces insurance will be levied will be decided after wide consultation with the public, based on sound estimates and taking into account the progress of structural reform. Even before insurance for basic state pensions is phased out, reductions in public works spending will make it possible to raise the proportion of basic state pensions met by the government from a third to a half. These changes will solve the problem faced by many disabled people who the current system has left with no old-age pension whatsoever. Until the new system is introduced, the DPJ will take temporary steps to eliminate this problem.
2) Maintaining Welfare Pensions
The DPJ will merge employees' welfare pensions and basic state pensions, and will maintain the present level at 60% of salary. The DPJ will ensure that present levels of pensions can be maintained without increasing the proportion met from insurance. The DPJ will not change the age at which employees' become eligible for pensions.
3) High Quality and Efficient Medical Care
Japan's hospitals have twice as many beds per patient as Europe and America, while average hospital stays are twice as long. And yet the number of staff per patient is less than half. The acute shortage of personnel adds to nurses' excessive workload and is a factor behind the spate of medical errors that have led to accidents. The DPJ will increase the efficiency of medical treatment, double the number of doctors and nurses per hospital bed; halve the average length of hospital stay and halve the number of beds.
The DPJ will organize medical service providers into three types: hospitals, specialists and general medical practitioners. General medical practitioners will handle internal medicine, surgery and non-emergency cases. When necessary, they will refer patients to hospitals or specialists. Under the new system, local general medical practitioners will be able to see patients more quickly. Not only will this change reduce costs, but it will be quicker and more convenient for patients than the present system of attending hospital for even minor problems, often waiting several hours for a 3-minute consultation.
4) Improving Care for the Elderly
The present system of care for the elderly is afflicted with over-prescription, treatment that is not needed, and overly long hospital stays. Oversight and competition do not exist. This is at the expense of taxpayers and insurance policy holders. The DPJ will end the current system of consigning elderly people to their own separate, expensive category of medical insurance. In its place, the existing health insurance schemes that now apply only to people below retirement age will be restructured to cover people below and above retirement age. To make elderly patients think about cost, they will be asked to pay a modest 10% of the costs of medical treatment. For those on low incomes however, the government will provide subsidies for medical treatment, separate to income support.
The DPJ will promote proactive healthcare through health consultations, health education and measures to promote active well-being. Preventative health care will both improve people's quality of life directly and help reduce costs.
It is vitally important to provide nursing care for the sick and elderly that meets the needs of patients and their families. The DPJ will seek to eliminate the common use of hospitals as "somewhere to stay" by people who don't actually need hospital care. Where appropriate, the DPJ will encourage patients receiving intensive and expensive treatment at home to be cared for in specialist facilities.
5) Ending Over-Prescription and Over-Treatment - for Patients and for Taxpayers
Japan's medical insurance system is in poor financial shape. The reason is not just the ageing of society: the system has been weighed down by false claims, over-prescription and over-treatment, none of which are subject to proper checks. Checks are supposed to be carried out by the Federation of Health Insurers and local insurers who administer national health insurance. In practice though they lack the powers needed to do the job. The DPJ will reform the way providers of medical services are remunerated. The DPJ will make it possible for invoices for medical services to be checked by making it compulsory for invoices to be computerized and itemized. Medical institutions will be evaluated from the point of view of patients and insurance policy holders. The DPJ will strengthen the powers of insurers and legislate to ensure disclosure of information.
In the medium to long term, the number of national health insurance schemes will be reduced through mergers, while national health insurance schemes, now operating only on a national scale, will be broken into smaller units. The result will be that both systems will be run at prefecture level. The DPJ will encourage the merging and restructuring of health insurance co-operatives so they will be near to their optimal size. Financial adjustments will be needed between the various schemes after this reform to compensate for the different age profiles of policyholders, as they will take place in parallel with changes to make health insurance policies valid both before and after retirement,.
The DPJ will enact a Law on Patients' Rights to give patients the rights to see their own medical records; to check the suitability of treatments; and to receive satisfactory explanation. The Law will also give patients the power to make checks and to choose medical institutions and will ensure that patients are not treated without their consent.
6) Improving Nursing Care Insurance
Although the Government introduced nursing care insurance, the system is riddled with contradictions and does not provide the care that is needed. Nursing care should always be provided as a priority, even in financially difficult times. As well as the direct benefits to patients, spending on nursing care creates employment and holds together local communities. Studies calculate that nursing care has twice the multiplier effect, both in terms of economic activity and employment, of public works spending.
The DPJ will make nursing care a high priority for public spending. The DPJ will increase the quantity and quality of home-helpers and care managers, and take steps which will see an increase in the number of homes or special residences suitable for care of the elderly. The DPJ will plug the holes in the present system: increasing the accuracy of who is and who is not recognized as needing care; distinguishing between those whose need is for household help and those who need personal care; helping elderly people on low incomes; improving conditions for home-helpers and care managers; and improving complaint handling procedures, for example by establishing an ombudsman.
4. THE 4TH PILLAR OF REFORM: REFORM OF THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Employment Stability and Job Creation
Reducing the uncertainty people feel about employment is important for the economy and for social stability. That is why it is vital to carryout measures to stabilize employment alongside structural reforms. While carrying out radical structural reform of the economy and public finance, the DPJ will take steps to create jobs and to reduce unemployment. With changes in the labor market, particularly the greater mobility of workers, the DPJ will create working rules to give adequate protection to employees. The DPJ will work to strengthen the social safety net under those who fall through the system. The DPJ will seek to ratify several treaties on employment, in particular the ILO's Treaty on Discriminatory Pay, to bring Japan into line with international standards.
1) Structural Reform for Job Creation and Social Stability
As well as leading to local services being better suited to local needs, decentralization will create jobs. The barrier free concept will lead to greater participation in society by the disabled and elderly. And partnership between the public and private sectors will help change the structure of the labor market. Many other DPJ policies will create new jobs, for example the promotion of IT, recycling and support for forestry.
2) Promoting Work-Sharing and Encouraging Variety in Working Practice
The DPJ will promote work-sharing and encourage variety in working practices. The DPJ will work to make it easier for people to balance work and family, to reduce working time and to encourage involvement by women in the workplace.
3) Getting Young People into Work
With near record unemployment, particularly among young people, the DPJ will support employment-related training in schools. The DPJ will reduce regulation on employment agencies, improve work-related training and education, promote internships and job counseling and make available detailed information on employment opportunities.
4) Ending Age Discrimination
The DPJ will draft a law prohibiting age discrimination in recruitment and employment. Uniform rejection on the basis of age by employers, a major obstacle for middle-aged and older unemployed people, will be made illegal. The DPJ will provide support to anyone, employed or unemployed, who seeks to improve their work skills. The DPJ will consider founding local agencies for training and employment, and plan to introduce "skills development vouchers" for specialized skills such as IT.
5) Fair Downsizing
The DPJ will consider legislation to strengthen the four principles for fair downsizing. These are: that there must be a need to reduce staff numbers; that there is a need to lay people off to reduce staff numbers; that selection of who is laid off is not unreasonable; and that the way that people are laid off is not unreasonable. The DPJ will amend the Employment Law to give earlier notification to workers who are to be laid off and to oblige companies to provide re-employment assistance. The DPJ will ask employers to refrain from laying people off lightly, and will increase the support available to people who have been laid off involuntarily.
5. THE 5TH PILLAR OF REFORM: REFORM OF EDUCATION
Quality Education and Opportunity for Every Child
The education system is not able to deal with the problems it faces. Japan's schools are suffering from a breakdown in classroom discipline, truancy, bullying and falling academic standards. The reasons behind these changes include social change; the declining influence of the family, local communities and society in education; and the natural limits of an over-centralized and overly uniform education system. Japan's educational standards are demonstrably falling behind world standards, all the way from elementary schools to universities. The DPJ will revitalize places of learning, teaching children to be able to stand on their own two feet, and with the wisdom to be able to live in harmony with others and to be sensitive and creative members of society.
The DPJ will seek to change the idea that education is something "received" from the government and put it back in the hands of families and local communities. It is essential that educators and parents work together. In order to help deal with problems such as bullying and classroom discipline, the DPJ will promote smaller class sizes and encourage programs of practical learning. At senior high school level, the DPJ will engender constructive competition between private and public schools and make use of private sector incentives. The DPJ believes that anybody with the will to learn should be given the opportunity to learn.
1) Transferring Responsibility for Education to Local Authorities and Schools
The DPJ will abolish the sections of the Ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology that deal with education, replacing them with a central education committee. The role of the committee (and with it that of national government) will be restricted to setting minimum educational standards and basic education policies. Other powers will be devolved to local authorities. Other than compulsory subjects, which will be the same throughout Japan, the DPJ will allow schools and local communities to decide the content of other lessons, making it possible for schools to develop their own specializations and characteristics. The DPJ will establish required levels of attainment, by age, for various subjects and for important skills.
2) Community Schools
Community Schools will be established alongside public schools to meet the needs of local communities. They will cater for 7-15 year olds (elementary and junior high school ages) and will be run by head teachers, reflecting the views of parents and local people. Community Schools will give local people greater involvement and choice in education.
3) Practical Education
The DPJ will promote the idea of independent learning, the exact opposite of the concept of compulsory education. As a first concrete step, the DPJ will encourage schools to introduce programs to give pupils practical experience, to develop independence and respect for life, for other people and for the environment. The programs will be organized by school management associations, made up of educators and school staff, parents, local people and pupils themselves. Taking account of the views of pupils, programs might include work experience, community living, exchanges between people of different generations, or from urban or rural areas, international exchange, contact with nature, agriculture or voluntary work in the community.
4) Smaller Class Sizes
A school's first duty is to impart necessary basic knowledge. The DPJ has been consistent in calling for smaller class sizes (a legal maximum of 30 pupils) to enable teachers to pay more attention to each child. To tackle the problems of declining standards and truancy, it is important that pupils actually understand what is being taught.
School management associations (paragraph 3 above) will be responsible for administering classes, decisions on teaching methods and the allocation of duties to teaching staff. Their goal will be to make schools places where pupils want to be.
To train better teachers, teacher training will place more emphasis on children's emotional problems and ways to maintain classroom discipline. To respond to children's concerns and avoid alienation between pupils and teachers, training programs based on thorough research into class management and teaching methods, will be made available to teachers who struggle to respond effectively to children's troubles.
5) Reforming National Universities
The overprotection of national universities has led to inefficiency and hampers competition between public and private universities. The DPJ will review whether to privatize national universities, change them into regional universities or have them for example publicly owned but privately run.
National subsidies to university education will be limited to a small number of institutions carrying out work which does not easily attract funding from the private sector, such as basic research. It is essential that technologically important research that has a low short-term market value still takes place. The DPJ will ensure that it does and will fund individual projects, based on merit, rather than just giving universities subsidies that do not need to be unaccounted for as at present.
6) Increasing the Availability of Educational Scholarships
The DPJ will expand the system of educational scholarships towards course fees, to give anyone with the will to learn the opportunity to do so regardless of age or parental help. Student loans will be made available to cover minimum living expenses. These steps will allow the government to reduce financial assistance to universities and graduate schools. Course fees will increase, but thanks to the scholarship system, these changes will end the situation where access to university education depends on financial means.
The DPJ will continue to work to change the way people think about university education, from something received from Government or paid for by parents, to something valuable and an investment in one's own future.
6. THE 6TH PILLAR OF REFORM: REFORM OF PUBLIC FINANCES
Rebuilding Public Finances for a Stable Society and a Strong Economy
Poor public finances hit society's weak hardest, damaging not just the economy but individual lives. The driving force behind the DPJ's policy on public finance reform is to see that the government continues to provide necessary public services to the people who need them - a strong economy, but with social stability. The DPJ's public finance reform will be very different from the efforts of Ryutaro Hashimoto, who made uniform spending cuts across the board, with no attempt to reflect national priorities. Under the principles of "public to private" and "national to local", the aim of the DPJ's public finance reform will be to drastically improve the efficiency of government spending, in the midst of fundamental structural reform.
The present system rewards and encourages waste and gives incentives to public bodies to increase and use up budgets, regardless of need, national priorities or the public good. This is compounded by Japan's vertical administration and the duplication and waste that results. The DPJ will reform public administration with outsourcing, privatization and the public-private partnership of PFI. The DPJ will reward those who make efficiency savings and improve administrative efficiency.
Japan's finances are in a dangerous state. But the government, tied to vested interests and using taxpayers money as electoral campaign funds, continues to delay reform. The victims are the public. The DPJ will start reforming public finance from day one in office.
1) Balancing Japan's Budget within Five Years
The longer reform of public finance is delayed, the harder it will be to carry out. The DPJ will seek to restore Japan's primary balance (the balance between government expenditure and revenue on items other than debt) to zero within 5 years, while taking account of economic conditions. To increase government revenue, the DPJ will look to sell public assets which are better held in private hands and look again at the allocation of profits from publicly run sports such as horseracing and speedboat racing.
The DPJ will take the following measures to reduce public spending:
笳?/span> A 30% reduction in public works-related spending in 5 years. This will include a review of public works projects, with unnecessary or non-urgent projects stopped. Close attention will be paid to dams and agricultural works. The DPJ will cut costs ruthlessly and reform the tendering system.
笳?/span> Reducing public subsidies to special corporations and public interest corporations. Where appropriate, they will be privatized or abolished.
笳?/span> Although the proportion of basic pensions paid from public finances will be increased, administrative and other costs will be reduced.
笳?/span> Reducing costs associated with medical and nursing care insurance. Active health promotion and having more elderly looked after at home will help limit increases in the cost of care for the elderly. Hospitals, other than those conducting treatments as a matter of national policy, will be privatized.
笳?/span> The introduction of single payments from central government to local authorities and the transfer of tax-raising authority to the regions and other decentralization measures.
笳?/span> A review of spending on self-defense.
笳?/span> Eliminating waste from spending on overseas development assistance (ODA) and reviewing contributions to or membership of international organizations. Changing the focus of ODA from construction-centered to human-centered activity.
笳?/span> Simplifying help to small- and medium-sized enterprises, to improve value for money.
笳?/span> A review of policy on energy stockpiles and a reduction in dependency on crude oil.
笳?/span> Reform of nationally run schools.
笳?/span> Reform of public spending on and revenue from agriculture.
笳?/span> Greater administrative efficiency through decentralization and privatization, large reductions in administrative costs and the number of national civil servants.
2) Introducing Private Sector Methodology to Government
The DPJ will introduce appropriate private sector methodology and know-how to the public sector, to improve public sector efficiency and transparency, as was done successfully in the UK. The DPJ will always seek more efficient use of public funds.
3) Letting Taxpayers See Where Their Money Goes - Transparent Accounting
Public support and understanding is essential if Japan is to get public finances back on track. The present system is incomprehensible to non-experts and needs a major overhaul.
The DPJ will take the following measures concerning accounting:
笳?/span> Making public, in a way that is easy to understand, the country's balance sheet, to include public corporations.
笳?/span> Enacting a law to ensure that information on public finance is available and easy to understand.
笳?/span> Reform of "special accounting systems", which obscure where public money goes.
笳?/span> Attacking vertical administration and unifying uncoordinated budgets for the same items, for example ODA, in different Ministries and agencies.
笳?/span> Ending the distinction between "debt finance" and "debt finance for public works construction" which lets the Government to get around the Public Finance Law.
笳?/span> Introducing compulsory value for money evaluation of government policy.
笳?/span> Establishing a Japanese version of the US Government Audit Office.
4) Ending the Habit of Supplementary Budgets
Under the guise of economic revitalization, the Government now slaps together one or more supplementary budgets every year. And even though Japan's national debt is out of control as a result, they have had no effect on the economy. The DPJ will heed the existing law on supplementary budgets, so that they will not be formulated except in times of need, for example after a major natural disaster or financial crisis.
The DPJ acknowledges the need for flexibility in fiscal consolidation. At the same time, the DPJ will pursue deregulation and stop pouring public money into the black hole of public works spending. The government seems to have forgotten that it was responsible for getting Japan into its financial mess, yet claims to be saving the country by pressuring the Bank of Japan, despite its independent status, to issue debt and print money.
5) Fair and Transparent Taxes
To secure government revenue, it is essential to build trust in the most important source of revenue, tax. A first step will be to clamp down on tax evasion, starting with the consumption tax. To restore faith in consumption tax, the DPJ will take steps that include reform of the "simplified tax system", reform of tax-free shops and the introduction of a system of invoices. At present, taxpayers have different identity numbers for various different types of tax. To increase transparency, fairness and efficiency, the DPJ will introduce unified tax numbers for each individual ltaxpayer.
6) Making the Most of Japan's National Assets
To reduce the financial burden of repayment on Japan's debt, the DPJ will sell the government's remaining shares in NTT, unused government landholdings and stakes in public and special corporations. The DPJ will sell licenses for radio frequencies and take a variety of other measures to increase government revenue.
7. THE 7TH PILLAR OF REFORM: GETTING THE MOST FROM THE IT REVOLUTION
The DPJ will work to give Japan access to the cheapest and fastest internet connections anywhere. IT will be taken out of the hands of government and put where it belongs, in the private sector and throughout the country. The DPJ will link changes in broadband service, intellectual property rights and the spread of IT literacy to bring the IT revolution to Japan. IT will be built into other areas of reform. A top priority will be competition in telecommunications. The DPJ will amend the IT Law to help increase labor mobility and eliminate barriers to part-time employment, work in small offices or from home.
1) Using IT to Build One-Stop Public Service
To bring the benefits of IT to everyday life, the DPJ will introduce one-stop service to enable people to deal with as many administrative services as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. The public will be able to deal with administrative services that now require trips to ward offices, town or city halls, tax offices, libraries, hospitals and police stations. A Digital Administrative Services Law will oblige providers of public services to post information on the internet. The DPJ will seek to improve the ability of local authorities to meet the needs of local communities through IT, for example by providing information centers in accessible places such as public libraries.
The DPJ will promote freedom of information, a prerequisite for effective democracy, through a Freedom of Electronic Information Law, making it obligatory to post information on public administration on the internet. The public will be able to obtain clear information for example on tenders and public works.
2) Opportunity in the Workplace, Help with Basic IT Skills
The DPJ will seek to introduce a Basic Labor Law by the end of 2001, in response to changes in the labor market, including measures to make it easier for people who wish to obtain IT skills for their work or daily life to do so. To promote IT education, the DPJ will increase IT hardware and personnel in schools. The DPJ will work to expand business opportunities for all, including women, the elderly and the disabled, and will make it easier for those who wish to do so to work from home, small offices or remotely via IT. The DPJ will reduce the regulations that impede employment agencies, and that limit the use of the internet for job placement.
3) Active Competition Policy - Establishing a Council on Fair Competition in IT
The DPJ will unify the administration of broadcasting and telecommunications as part of an active competition policy in telecommunications. The DPJ will establish a Council on Fair Competition in IT, which will be given the powers available under Article 3 of the Administration Law. It will set and apply rules on competition between private firms from the perspective of international competition. The DPJ will strengthen the Fair Trade Commission and make use of existing anti-monopoly legislation, particularly in regard to telecommunications.
To lower barriers to entry to regional telecommunications markets by new entrants and give consumers greater choice and lower prices, the DPJ will ensure open access, under clear and fair rules, to the IT-related infrastructure of incumbent companies. To create low-cost and efficient networks, for example of fiber-optic cables, the DPJ will end the distinction between infrastructure owning and non-infrastructure owning operators.
4) Helping NPOs and the Regions Lead the Way in an Information Society
The DPJ will encourage non-profit organization (NPO) activity through IT. For example IT literacy will be made a required subject for a home-helper's qualification. The DPJ will exempt donations to NPOs and local communities from tax. The scope of preferential tax treatment on up to ?･1 million of IT equipment purchases will be expanded to cover not just private firms, but NPOs and local voluntary organizations. We will encourage the formation of information networks that improve people's everyday lives, for example on welfare issues, medical advice and health care, environmental education, recycling, culture and the arts.
The DPJ will establish a system to encourage internet service providers to connect NPOs and citizens. The DPJ will promote research to lower the barriers that prevent developed countries making the most of IT and information society, for example by encouraging the development of technology to deal quickly and simultaneously with different languages.
5) Attracting the Cream of the World's IT Specialists to Japan
To strengthen the impact of the IT revolution in Japan, the DPJ will make it easier for the cream of Asia's and the world's leading IT specialists to work in Japan, for example by simplifying the procedure for IT specialists to apply for a multiple entry visa to Japan. The DPJ will ensure that overseas technologists can receive education in Japanese language and culture before they come to Japan.
6) Educational Revolution Through IT
The DPJ will ensure that every school pupil has access to his or her own computer connected to the internet. IT education will be added to the subjects required to obtain a teaching license, so that all teachers are capable of developing children's IT literacy. Those able to teach IT will be considered positively for promotion to IT teaching positions. We will encourage tie-ups between industry and universities, so that university students can be taught in a timely way about developments in fast moving, leading edge IT. To encourage the development of IT know-how across-the-board, we will strengthen co-operation and links between universities.
7) Barrier Free Access to IT and Telecommunications
As part of the barrier free concept, the DPJ will expand the use of "universal design" in IT - the concept of ensuring that equipment is designed in such a way that it can be used by anyone, including the disabled or elderly. The DPJ will enact an IT Access Law to ensure workplaces are barrier free. This law will guarantee that in places such as public offices, office equipment is suitable for disabled staff and that the government will only procure office equipment that does not exclude the disabled. The same law will oblige makers to consider the needs of disabled people when designing equipment.
8) Personal Privacy and the Prevention of Internet Crime
A Law to Prevent Internet Crime or a "Cyber Law" will tackle anti-social activities such as the organized disruption of information systems, hacking and the theft of password information. This Law will clarify the responsibility of administrators concerning the use of false names and will establish a process for requesting information from providers.
The DPJ will increase penalties for the illegal collection of personal information and will legislate to protect personal information by establishing individuals' right to be in control of information about themselves. The DPJ will move forward legislation on electronic contracts, the responsibility of intermediaries and the buying and selling of information. To speed up legal processes, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will be introduced to resolve civil disputes without recourse to the courts.
1. HELP WITH CHILD RAISING
The environment in which children are raised is crucially important to the way they approach the future and therefore for the vitality of society. The DPJ aims to build a society in which children are not just looked after by their family, but by local communities and society. The DPJ aims to provide quality pre-school care, to reduce the financial burden of bringing up children, and to give mothers and parents the help and support they need.
1) Helping Balance Work and Family
The DPJ will ensure generous maternity leave and childcare, and will enact laws to help balance work and family. The DPJ will support paternity leave and oblige employers to give parents of ill children time off work to care for them. The DPJ will reform the medical system as it affects children and parents, subsidize medical costs for families of seriously ill children and guarantee the right of all children, including the disabled, to healthcare.
2) Increasing Choice in Pre-School Childcare
To reflect changes in society, the DPJ will increase the childcare options available to parents and children, providing for example nursery places for very young children, nursery care outside of "normal" times, or for short periods and nursery care for sick children. The DPJ will require new nurseries to notify authorities when they start business and will provide help for childcare in a number of ways, for example recognizing home nursery care - people who look after a few children at home.
3) Providing Daycare for School-Aged Children After School
Nearly 60% of mothers of elementary school children now work. Urbanization and the declining influence of extended families have also had an impact on the environment in which children are being raised. The DPJ, working with volunteers, educationalists and local organizations, will provide safe, fun and active places for children to play or engage in activities after school.
4) Lightening the Burden of Child Raising - Child Allowances and Scholarships
Whether or not to have children is a deeply personal choice, hardly likely to be swayed by policies such as the size of child allowances. But this does not mean that the burden on individuals trying to raise children is not society's or the government's problem. It is only right that society as a whole shares the burden of support on those who are raising the next generation. The DPJ will bring Japan into line with European countries on child allowances, paying allowances until the end of a child's compulsory education. The DPJ will expand the scholarships system for children entering senior high school or university.
5) Creating A Single System for Childcare Centers
Due to changes such as the declining role in child raising by extended families, a growing number of parents have feelings of isolation and insecurity about the future. As the increasing numbers of abandoned and abused children shows, more and more children are taking the brunt of these social changes.
To ease the pressures on parents, the DPJ will create a single system from nurseries (hoikuen - for children up to 3, open until evening) and childcare day centers (yochien - for children over 3, only open until early afternoon), to create childcare centers offering the advantages of both systems. The DPJ will provide child allowances for pre-school aged children and will make use of empty classrooms, caused by the declining number of children, as local centers for help with childcare and as somewhere mothers and children can spend time together. The ability to share experiences and time with other parents and children will help relieve parents' isolation, help them learn about child raising and should help in maintaining educational standards and preventing child abuse.
2. PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY
The DPJ seeks equal participation by men and women in society. The DPJ will work to change company-centered social arrangements and the idea that men and women should do different work. We seek to build a society in which women take decisions in all fields, and in which women are free to choose for themselves how they wish to live. The DPJ will protect children's rights with a "Charter of Children's Rights."
1) Welcoming Diversity of Choice, Different Values
Amending civil law on surnames, property rights for children born outside of marriage
The DPJ will amend civil law to enable husbands and wives to use separate surnames if they wish to do so, and to prevent remaining discrimination against children born outside of marriage, for example in property rights.
Gender-neutral pensions and taxes
The DPJ's plan to fund basic state pensions from the public purse rather than insurance will eliminate the problem faced by widows who find themselves with no pension at all. The DPJ will amend tax regulations to make them gender neutral, for example by reducing or abolishing the "tax allowance for dependent wives", "tax allowance for spouses" and "special tax allowance for spouses". This will create tax revenue which will be used to fund the expansion of child allowances and improvements in childcare.
New laws concerning domestic violence, reproductive rights
The DPJ will enact laws to protect the victims of domestic violence and to prevent domestic violence from taking place. The DPJ will also enact a new law on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Protecting children from harmful information and images
The DPJ will protect children from harmful information and images, for example scenes of extreme or sexual violence, balancing freedom of expression with the rights of children to a wholesome upbringing.
Taking action on child abuse
The DPJ will monitor closely the effects of the Child Abuse Prevention Law, taking necessary action to make improvements where necessary.
2) Supporting Women Entrepreneurs
The DPJ will create a system to support and develop entrepreneurship by women and will take action to ensure women are represented in decision-making bodies.
3. PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
The DPJ believes that discrimination, whether on grounds of gender, social standing, birth, race, nationality, age or disability, is unacceptable. Human rights are important rights, belonging to every individual human being from birth. The DPJ will review and reform legislation and policies to protect and maintain human rights. The DPJ will take legal steps to demand swift resolution of problems remaining from World War II.
1) Building Mutual Respect
Establishing an independent organization to safeguard human rights
The DPJ will establish an independent body to safeguard human rights. It will have a high degree of independence and be able to rule on investigations, relief measures, laws and policies from the perspective of human rights violations and discrimination. The DPJ will also enact a specific law concerning discrimination.
Protecting information on individuals
The DPJ will enact a law to protect information on individuals, respecting people' rights to be in control of information about themselves.
Legislation to end discrimination against burakumin
The DPJ will seek to end discrimination against burakumin with the enactment of a law on burakumin issues, including anti-burakumin discrimination.
Protecting Ainu culture and rights
The DPJ will support the preservation of Ainu culture and ensure that the human rights of the Ainu people are respected.
Ending discrimination by nationality or race
The DPJ will continue to take domestic and international human rights violations seriously, and will continue to have a particular interest in the human rights situation of other Asian people and of foreigners in Japan.
2) Making Japan a Trusted Member of the International Community
Ratifying Human Rights Treaties
Japan has failed to ratify the international protocol on human rights and protocols to the treaty to end discrimination against women. The DPJ will ratify these treaties. The DPJ will propose a "human rights initiative" on policies to help protect human rights internationally. The DPJ will establish a standing group on peace research within the Diet Library and will enact laws to make progress on the problem of wartime comfort women and to help people denied nationality under the World War II peace treaties.
4. ACCESS FOR THE DISABLED: BUILDING A BARRIER FREE SOCIETY
The International Year of the Disabled in 1981 and the UN Decade for the Disabled did much to take forward the idea of "normalization" and advance the goal of building a barrier free society - one in which the disabled are able to participate freely and on equal terms. It is essential to take the barrier free concept with us in the 21st Century, for example by building in a way that does not exclude the disabled and reforming systems to make it easier for disabled people to take part in society.
1) Promoting Barrier Free Homes
Although basic housing costs will have to be met by individuals, the DPJ will assist with special needs of the disabled, for example special baths or domestic elevators.
2) Barrier Free Social Infrastructure
The DPJ will incorporate the barrier free concept into social infrastructure; promoting the inclusion of escalators and elevators in public buildings, wide sidewalks, and underground electricity supply lines. A law on barrier free buildings will make it obligatory for large buildings to ensure access to the disabled. The Basic Law on Construction will be amended to add "barrier free" to the existing requirements that buildings be safe, disaster-prepared and hygienic.
3) A New Deal for the Disabled
The DPJ will make a new deal with the disabled, covering employment, healthcare, welfare and education comprehensively, to see that society deals with the disabled as with anyone else. At present, the disabled are specifically excluded from exams for certain qualifications. The DPJ will not let "disability" be used as a reason to exclude someone from getting a qualification. The DPJ will draft laws to bolster the earning potential of disabled people, for example providing assistance to take up employment in high-technology jobs.
4) Ending Separate Nursery Care and Education for Disabled Children
Not all barriers to the disabled are physical. The DPJ will seek to build not just barrier free buildings, but barrier free minds. To increase children's understanding and awareness of disability, the DPJ will end the unnecessary separation of nursery care and education for disabled and able-bodied children.
5) Ending Age Restrictions to Nursing Care Insurance
At present, nursing care insurance is available only to those over 65. The DPJ will reform the present system to end this age restriction.
6) Law on Barrier Free IT
The DPJ will promote the idea of "universal design" for IT and other everyday electronic equipment, such as household electric goods, vending machines and ATMs. A Law on Barrier Free IT will oblige makers to supply products that do not exclude the disabled.
7) Barrier Free Politics
The DPJ will reduce the barriers to political participation faced by the disabled, for example by providing election information for people who are deaf or blind and ensuring the disabled are able to vote.
5. STRENGTHENING NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Japan needs to develop the idea that public interest should be determined by the public, not bureaucrats or the government. The DPJ recognizes that NPOs should be encouraged, treating them as part of mainstream society and of the tertiary sector. The DPJ will create tax incentives for NPO activity and reform taxes on donations to NPOs and public foundations. 2001 has been designated the Year of the Volunteer. The DPJ will support "volunteering leave", to secure the place in society of NPOs.
1) Help for NPOs
Government assistance to NPOs is subjective and too mean and it excludes more NPOs than it helps. The DPJ would tackle these problems and give NPOs the support they need, through measures such as tax breaks on communications costs, somewhere to turn for advice and access to finance for new NPOs.
2) Expanding the Scope of NPO Activity
The DPJ will add to the list of fields in which NPO activity is officially recognized. Information dissemination, the revitalization of industry or distribution and the promotion of science and technology will be among the fields added to the existing 12 fields of NPO activity recognized by the government. The DPJ will simplify administrative procedures for NPOs and will consider steps to encourage information disclosure.
6. SUPPORTING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, LIFELONG LEARNING
The DPJ will make practical skills training available to people who need it and remind society that there is more to education than exam results. With regions at the forefront, the DPJ will promote lifelong learning, participation in sports, culture and the arts.
Poor in natural resources, Japan achieved its high post-war growth through technological prowess. But now it lags behind America and Europe in crucially important life sciences. The DPJ will invest in human resource development and support research and development to have Japan maintain its place as a leading science and technology nation.
1) Japan as a Leading Science and Technology Nation
The DPJ will create a comprehensive policy to revitalize science and technology and develop researchers and technologists in research institutions throughout Japan. The DPJ will promote research and development in leading areas of science and technology such as genetic science - particularly the human genome, IT, nano-technology and new energy.
2) Work-Related Training
The fact that increasing numbers of young people are choosing not to work has major implications for society and the economy. To make it easier for young people to find worthwhile work after their formal education, the DPJ will give high priority to work-related education and training. The DPJ will give practical skills training the respect in education that it deserves and seek to establish a more sensible balance in education between knowledge acquisition and practical skills.
3) Promoting Lifelong Learning and Sports
The DPJ will open school facilities to local communities, for sports, play, arts and culture. School and university libraries will also be made available to the public. The DPJ will promote lifelong learning and encourage the provision of learning opportunities and facilities for adults and children throughout Japan. The DPJ will make it possible for people to get advice locally on how to change job, re-start work, develop skills or find out about local activities. Community Schools will not just help meet the needs of their pupils, but also those of NPOs, local organizations, universities and private companies.
4) Supporting Traditional Culture
The DPJ recognizes the importance of traditional and contemporary culture. The DPJ will protect cultural assets, ensure continuity in the traditional arts and crafts and nurture an appreciation of culture through education.
7. REFORMING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM
The lack of confidence in Japan's financial system and institutions refuses to go away. Part of the reason is that the Government continues to put off dealing with non-performing loans. The DPJ will take bold steps to write off such loans. And the DPJ will implement the deposit insurance scheme, also delayed by the government, to limit taxpayers' liability to account holders of failed private financial institutions to ?･10 million per person.
The DPJ will pursue the responsibility of financial institutions vigorously and ensure they do not use government assistance to avoid hard but necessary decisions again. The DPJ will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to obtain finance, increasing the role of direct finance, and have financial institutions use profitable modern practices.
1) Writing Off Non-Performing Loans
The DPJ will not hesitate to introduce the deposit insurance system that has been delayed by the LDP. The DPJ will dispel uncertainty about the financial system, restoring it to health by weeding out financial institutions which cannot survive, injecting capital into those which can, and following through a thorough write off of bad debts. Financial institutions will not be allowed to use the injection of capital to avoid hard decisions again. The DPJ will not use taxpayers' money to rescue failed private firms, as the LDP-led coalition tried to do with Sogo under the guise of "debt forgiveness."
2) Disclosure and Transparency
The DPJ will oblige financial institutions to improve disclosure, having them value assets, including bad debts, at market value and having them setout clearly their contributions to regional economies. The DPJ will seek to return the insurance sector to health with immediate corrective measures, and will tighten rules on disclosure and on the way solvency margins are calculated. The DPJ will increase the number of public certified accountants, and will introduce thorough checks to strengthen accounting supervision.
3) Separating Public and Private Finance
The DPJ will base financial administration on fair and transparent rules, ending the reliance on administrative guidance, which was a factor in Japan's financial crisis. The DPJ will separate clearly public and private finance and will unify and strengthen financial supervision, upgrading the head of the Financial Services Agency to the rank of Minister. After transferring responsibility for postal savings and insurance to a public body, the DPJ will begin deliberations on how to move forward from that point. The DPJ will ensure the independence of monetary policy and put an end to political pressure on the Bank of Japan.
4) Tightening Up on Financial Crime
The DPJ will be tough on financial crime and, with the establishment of a financial problems oversight committee in the Diet, will pursue relentlessly investigations into financial crimes and scandals that have occurred since the bubble economy.
5) Giving Small Businesses Access to Finance
The DPJ will submit a draft law, from individual Diet Members if necessary, to increase the importance of direct finance, establishing markets for capital and debt for small- and medium-sized businesses. The DPJ will have financial institutions adopt modern, profitable practices, for example in mortgages and securities.
8. BUILDING A STRONG ECONOMY, REVITALIZING INDUSTRY
Japan's economy has fallen into a long-term malaise because of the failure of consecutive governments to carry out structural reforms, because of the waste of public money and because the government has chosen packages to protect the existing structure over real reform. As long as such policies continue, there will be no return to economic vitality.
Japan must make the change to an economy based around high growth industries such as IT, environmental services, recycling, new energy, health, medical care, welfare, education, travel and leisure. The DPJ will accelerate deregulation, take measures to realize the potential of IT and will strengthen social services such as nursing, medical care and welfare. The DPJ will support venture business and small- and medium-sized firms as a major source of new growth. The DPJ will help develop regional industries, including manufacturing, and will ensure effective implementation of the Basic Law on Manufacturing. The DPJ will invest in science and technology, protect and strengthen intellectual property rights and take steps to improve competitiveness.
1) Carrying Through Strategic Deregulation, Improving Competitiveness
The DPJ will enact a Regulation Sunset Law placing a time limit on all economic regulations. Bureaucrats wanting to continue a regulation after its time limit will be required to produce a clear reason for doing so. The DPJ will prioritize deregulation on the basis of effectiveness in stimulating private investment, and will replace the priority on public works with projects that create jobs and wealth, for example in IT, the environment, recycling, welfare or education.
The DPJ will push for accounting transparency, based on current market values, and for fair rules governing business. The DPJ will change unfair and opaque practices, review the Anti-Trust Law to make it more effective and strengthen the investigations arm of the Fair Trade Commission. The DPJ will enact laws to penalize late payments to subcontractors and make sure that subcontractors do not block new entrants.
2) Bringing the IT Revolution to Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
The DPJ will promote the amalgamation of manufacturing and IT. The DPJ will make information on skills and techniques available electronically, create portal sites for small- and medium-sized enterprises and enable small manufacturers to obtain information on public subsidies and finance through chambers or commerce or trade association sites. The DPJ will encourage e-commerce with technical, tax and financing support.
To encourage mobility in the labor market, the DPJ will promote the use of the internet for job searching and will build databases and homepages showcasing the attractions of small- and medium-sized enterprises. The DPJ will encourage research and development into software applications for business and support IT seminars for entrepreneurs.
3) Supporting Enterprise, Small Firms and Women Entrepreneurs
To encourage enterprise, newly created small- and medium-sized business will be subject to part or total exemption from corporation tax during their first five years. The DPJ will expand the Angel tax system to encourage individual investors to invest directly in small businesses and introduce tax exemptions for trial expansions. The DPJ will amend rules to make it easier for small- and medium-sized enterprises to be handed on to successors.
The DPJ will encourage entrepreneurship by women, through private organizations, through information systems for female entrepreneurs, and by establishing a system whereby a proportion of government procurement is allotted to women entrepreneurs. The DPJ will establish a framework to give priority access to women entrepreneurs with regard to funds provided by public finance institutions.
4) Financial Institutions Geared to the Needs of Small Businesses
As well as establishing new capital and debt markets for small- and medium-sized businesses, the DPJ will use various methods to ensure they have access to the finance they need. The DPJ will review public financial institutions and consider establishing a special body to evaluate the creditworthiness of small businesses. The DPJ will seek to make regional financial institutions profitable, by insisting on sound lending, including to small businesses, on the basis of proper evaluation of management, operations, business plans and future profitability. The DPJ will ensure that responsibilities accrue not just to lenders, but also to borrowers, and will knit together a safety net to ensure that entrepreneurs are not cut off from finance without good reason.
The DPJ will end the insistence on land as collateral for business loans. Starting with public financial institutions, the DPJ will see that finance is available to small- and medium-sized enterprises without requiring a guarantor to risk their entire personal finances, as is usually the case at present.
5) Promoting "Silver Housing" for the Elderly
The DPJ will promote the building of communities based around everyday facilities and welfare, by supporting, through public loans, construction of areas that combine first floor facilities such as shops and businesses with second floor housing. The areas will include "Silver Housing", equipped with care facilities for the elderly, and nurseries where parents can leave their children in confidence and safety for a time.
"Hello Work" facilities will give information and support to would-be entrepreneurs, for example information on vacant shops or business sites, or how to setup a home office. To invigorate shopping areas, the DPJ will support the provision of car and bicycle parking spaces, so people can use the areas more easily. To improve access for the disabled, improve the appearance of shopping areas and improve disaster readiness, the DPJ will support moves to have utility poles replaced by underground cabling.
6) Stimulating Creativity
The DPJ will support high quality and practical creative work, amending the Patent Law and strengthening patent investigation capabilities to take account of developments in intellectual property rights. The DPJ will make greater use of Technology Licensing Organizations and will enact a Japanese version of the Bayh-Dole Act on the patent-related rights of universities and private companies. The DPJ will soften the division of education between sciences and arts and seek to develop creativity in the classroom from elementary school and junior high school age. The DPJ will strengthen the powers of courts to deal with intellectual property rights disputes.
7) Prioritizing Leading Edge Technologies
Under the DPJ, Japan will see major investment in leading edge technologies that will hold the key to industrial development in the 21st Century, such as the human genome, rice genome, IT, nano-technology and new sources of energy. The DPJ will strengthen links between industry, academia and government, for example encouraging Technology Licensing Organizations to put university-developed technologies to use. Patent Distribution Advisers will encourage the development of patents. The DPJ will give help to small- and medium-sized enterprises to meet the expense of obtaining ISO international standards certification.
8) Strengthening a Free and Multi-Functional Trade System
The DPJ will work to foster a free and multi-functional trade system and to strengthen the functions of the WTO. Japan must show leadership to help bring about early negotiations for a new round with a comprehensive agenda. To contribute to the economic vitality of Asia, Japan should pursue transparency and free trade agreements positively while opening its markets and increasing imports. The DPJ will strengthen regulations to make sure anti-dumping measures that restrict trade are not used arbitrarily. The use of safeguards to protect against an extreme surge in imports, such as WTO transitional safeguards, should be considered flexibly and take proper account of their effectiveness.
9. GETTING THE BEST FROM LABOR AND FOR LABOR
With fewer and fewer children and more and more elderly people, making the most of the abilities and will to work of Japan's workforce will be a key factor for business development. The participation of women is crucially important. The DPJ will respond to the needs of people trying to balance work with childcare or nursing care. Promoting work sharing and reforming the culture of overwork, the DPJ will seek to shorten working hours and to produce a more human working environment.
1) Measures to Balance Work and Family
The DPJ has proposed many measures to help people balance work and family and to create an environment in which fathers as well as mothers can be involved in raising children. For example, the DPJ changed the Law on Childcare and Nursing Care Leave and created a Law to Help Balance Work and Family. The DPJ has sought to allow both parents to divide childbirth leave between them if they wish, has proposed guarantees for parents to get time off work to care for sick children and has sought to ensure that an employee's right to ask for shorter working hours will be respected by their employer.
The DPJ will work to strengthen family bonds and to help people balance work and family commitments. The DPJ will extend childbirth leave and make it applicable to temporary workers. The DPJ will introduce exemptions on social security payments for people who are taking time off work to care for the sick or elderly.
2) Longer Holidays
The DPJ will ratify treaty 132 of the International Labor Organization on paid annual leave, something that the government has failed to do. The DPJ will legislate to give employees longer holidays and will promote shorter working hours.
3) Protecting Part-Time and Temporary Employees
Under the principle of equal pay for equal work, the DPJ will end the conditions that exclude irregular workers from social security. The DPJ aims to knit together a safety net for all, not just for regular employees, regardless or gender, age or family circumstances.
4) Resolving Work Disputes
There has been a sharp increase in the number of disputes between employees and employers that cannot be solved by the parties involved, for example about unpaid salary, unfair dismissal or discrimination. The DPJ has submitted a draft law to the Diet's Labor Committee proposing a system for swift and simple resolution of such disputes. The DPJ will encourage co-operation and co-ordination between regional Labor Committees and Prefecture Labor Departments to provide a one-stop service to respond appropriately, for example with advice, mediation or arbitration, to resolve workplace disputes.
5) Helping the Homeless Back into Society
With the protracted economic downturn, the homeless have become a noticeable new presence in many cities. The DPJ will work to give the homeless independence, providing help to secure work for those who want it and a permanent place of residence.
Japan's consumers want an end government that limits consumers' rights and are demanding more positive support for consumers. The DPJ was active enacting in the Consumers Contract Law to protect consumers from unfair trading and breach of contract. The DPJ will help consumers understand their legal rights, have laws affecting consumers implemented in full and enable consumers to obtain the information they need to make wise choices. The DPJ will enact a Financial Services Law to protect consumers from excessively high interest rates charged by some consumer finance companies, by establishing proper rules and limiting the rates that can be charged.
1) Educating Consumers, Allowing Legal Group Action
The DPJ will strengthen consumer education, from compulsory education to consumers' groups and will establish a right for groups to fight legal action.
2) Enacting a Financial Services Law. Reducing Legal Maximum Interest Rates
The DPJ will enact a Financial Services Law, establishing rules on a range of financial services and obliging financial institutions to give reasons for refusing to lend. The maximum interest rates under the Investment Law will be reduced from 29.2% to between 15 and 20%.
3) Food Safety
The DPJ will amend the Food Hygiene Law, making clear the rights of consumers and taking steps to protect health, obliging makers to indicate the composition and origin of food products (for example ingredients, country of origin or use of skimmed milk). The DPJ will implement restrictions on the import of genetically modified foods in the same way as the EU pending the establishment of an inspection system. The DPJ will create a body of food inspectors, for food produced inside or outside of Japan.
11. AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Despite the importance of policy towards agriculture and food, the government's approach to agriculture since the World War II has left Japan's agriculture and agricultural communities lagging behind their counterparts in America and Europe. Japan's self-sufficiency ratio in food is extremely low compared with America and Europe. For many years, the government has failed to link its policy with regard to GATT and the Uruguay Round to improvements in competitiveness or self-sufficiency. At the same time, politicians, bureaucrats and business interests have pursued the subsidies for agricultural civil engineering without any interest in consumers or farmers.
The DPJ will end the folly of Japan's post-war agricultural policy, putting the interests of farmers and consumers back at the top of the agenda. The overall aims of the DPJ's agricultural policy will be to increase self-sufficiency and promote sustainable agriculture. The three major policy planks will be:
- Changing the focus of agricultural policy from civil engineering to farmers' incomes;
- Achieving environmentally sustainable agriculture and food safety; and
- Promoting life on the land.
The DPJ will base forestry policy on the "green dam" idea (paragraph 4, Public Works Reform above) and make conservation of marine resources the basis of fisheries policy.
1) Encouraging Participation in Agriculture and Agricultural Self-Sufficiency
The DPJ will set the target for self-sufficiency in food at 50%, with separate targets for foods such as wheat and soybeans. The DPJ will plan a storage system for food stocks. To promote participation in agriculture, the DPJ will lighten regulation of new entrants and support agricultural firms or individuals looking to start up in agriculture. To support life on the land, the DPJ will have information made available on the internet, encourage rural and agricultural tourism, and promote the advantages of country life.
2) Efficient Use of Agricultural Land
The DPJ will restrict the transfer of arable land to other uses, and improve international competitiveness by making agricultural land available to those ready to farm it. The DPJ will consolidate laws on arable land and make a comprehensive land-use planning system.
3) Maintaining Farmers' Incomes
The DPJ will establish clear rules, based in law, to determine who agricultural income maintenance policies do and do not apply to. The targets of the policy will be:
- Full-time farmers who are most affected by liberalization,
- Farmers involved in environmental conservation, for example organic farmers,
- Farmers in areas where it is tough to make a living from farming without support.
4) Promoting Environmentally Friendly Agriculture
The DPJ will promote environmentally friendly agriculture. The DPJ will enact a law to promote the production and use of organic food, for example in school dinners, will ban aerial chemical spraying and promote environmentally friendly land preparation.
5) Reforming Agricultural Organizations
The DPJ will reform the pyramid of agricultural co-operatives, at the summit of which are the national organizations Zenchu and Zenno, building instead a system that lets regional agricultural co-operatives act independently. The DPJ will reform the land improvement system, from a vote and money collecting machine for the LDP into a system that improves agricultural land.
6) Sustainable Use of Forestry and Marine Resources
The basis for laws on forestry policy will be the "green dam" concept, so as to preserve and develop water resources, land and wildlife. Fisheries legislation will be aimed at preserving ecosystems and achieving sustainable fishery.
7) Proposing New Rules on Agricultural Trade to the WTO
The DPJ will propose new rules on agricultural trade that respect the spirit of free trade and respect the sovereignty of food-importing countries. The rules will seek:
- Stability of global supply and demand for food, and food security
- Public interest, multi-functional agriculture and international co-operation
- Food safety
- Strengthened safeguards
- Environmental conservation.
12. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Environmental problems such as global warming, the destruction of the ozone layer and desertification are getting more serious every year. At the same time, it is claimed that if everyone lived the way Japanese do, we would need three Planet Earths! There is no alternative but to change the way we live and build a society that uses resources in a sustainable way. The causes of environmental destruction include a mistaken idea that resources are unlimited; the wasteful use of resources and energy; accepting pollution and the proliferation of harmful chemicals; and the destruction of irreplaceable ecosystems. Accordingly, the change to sustainability requires concrete policies that include:
- The use of natural energy
- Controlling the proliferation of dangerous chemicals
- Sustainable use of natural resources and the environment.
1) Achieving a Change in Lifestyles
Most information on the environment in Japan is concentrated in the hands of bureaucrats and companies, out of range to ordinary citizens. The DPJ will enact a Disclosure of Environmental Information Law, allowing consumers to choose products on the basis of their impact on the environment. Recognizing that changes in lifestyles to harmonize with the environment require serious thought on the part of individuals, the DPJ will enact an Environmental Education Law, to promote changes in lifestyle.
2) The Efficient Use of Natural Resources
The DPJ will enact a law on recycling and the control of pollution, obliging manufacturers to use natural resources economically and to accept back their own products. The DPJ will encourage recycling, for example by introducing a deposit system for cans and bottles.
The DPJ will reflect the effect of economic activities on the environment in taxes, lightening tax on activities with a positive impact and increasing it on those that harm the environment. To curtail global warming, the DPJ will introduce an environment tax, targeting carbon and energy (but excluding raw materials with no ready substitutes, for example naphtha and untreated coal). Overcomplicated taxes on automobiles and petroleum products will be simplified, and unreasonable rates on some activities, which are penalized simultaneously under a variety of tax rules, reduced. The DPJ will review how roads are used as sources of income. The DPJ will study how taxes to support the development of electricity generation and supply, currently levied on electricity bills, might be amended. The DPJ will support regional environmental taxes, for example to help conserve forests, remote villages or water resources and to introduce local recycling.
3) Stopping the Spread of Harmful Chemicals and Promoting Alternatives
The DPJ will enact a comprehensive law controlling harmful chemicals: to prevent their widespread use; investigate their effects; ban production; regulate use; force makers to take responsibility for recall or disposal of their own products; and so on. The DPJ will strengthen the system for investigating sick building syndrome and hypersensitivity caused by chemicals, establishing legal standards and providing a legal basis for compensating victims.
Japan is the world's second largest producer of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are known to have a major impact on global warming and the ozone layer. Yet Japan has no system to dispose of CFCs systematically. The DPJ will enact a law making producers of CFCs responsible for the collection of CFCs and obliging them to make clear their effects.
The damage caused by pollution of soil and groundwater by dioxins is a serious problem. The DPJ will introduce a law to ascertain the facts on dioxin pollution and to get polluted sites cleaned up.
4) Protecting Natural Ecosystems
The DPJ will legislate to protect river and marine ecosystems and to consolidate the administration of forests and rivers. Japan is losing much habitat for its wildlife in flats and marshland. The DPJ will legislate to regulate development in such areas and encourage conservation, for example enacting a law for the protection of wildlife.
The DPJ will try to reverse environmental damage caused by public works, for example by returning some of Japan's rivers to their natural, un-concreted state. Public works under the DPJ will seek to restore the natural environment instead of destroying it. Environmental assessments will not be carried out as at present to justify public works, but to assess the need for environmental conservation.
5) Making an International Contribution to the Environment
The DPJ will take steps to fulfill Japan's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases by 6% from 1990 levels by 2010, without resorting to statistical mechanisms such as sinks and emissions trading. Instead, the DPJ will act to reduce domestic emissions, by for example promoting the use of natural energy and obliging producers of CFCs to take responsibility for collection and destruction. As a result of Japan's experience with pollution, it possesses world-leading anti-pollution technology. Japan should aim to make an international contribution to the environment by sharing this technology with its East Asian neighbors.
The DPJ will strike a balance in energy policy between environmental and economic concerns, to make Japan a country that uses energy efficiently and sustainably. As Japan has few natural resources of its own, it is the government's responsibility to make sure that the supply of petroleum, coal and natural gas is sufficient for the country's needs. The DPJ will aim to strike a balance between the sometimes conflicting goals of economic development, energy security and protection of the environment.
To help comply with Japan's commitments to the Third Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on Global Warming (COP3), the DPJ will review those aspects of economic and social activity that have made Japan a mass consumer of energy. The DPJ will encourage citizens to get involved in energy saving, will promote energy-saving technology, and will encourage the development of renewable energy and new energy sources.
The DPJ will enhance international co-operation on the environment, promote energy security, environmental protection and energy saving in Asia, promote technical assistance and technological exchange to improve nuclear safety, and encourage the use of renewable energy sources.
1) Promoting Energy Saving
In line with Japan's international commitments, the DPJ will encourage citizens to get involved in energy conservation, through citizens' movements and education. The DPJ seeks a shift in Japan's industrial structure towards high value-added, low energy industries and will take measures to spread the concept of energy saving in everyday life. Concrete steps will include environmental taxes, tax reductions to reward energy saving, and policies to encourage research and development into for example clean energy automobiles, co-generation systems and the construction of energy efficient housing.
2) Increasing Use of Renewable Energy Sources
The DPJ will match the EU's target for the proportion of energy to be met from renewable energy sources, at 11.6% by 2010 (the government's target is 7.5%). Specifically, the DPJ will aim to increase the output from wind power by 250 times and from solar power by 100 times the current levels. The DPJ is ready to put in place the legislation and the finance this will need.
3) Reducing Japan's Dependency on Oil
The DPJ will take a number of concrete measures to reduce Japan's dependency on oil. For example, the DPJ will promote the use of natural gas; build LNG facilities and a network of natural gas pipelines throughout Japan; promote the use of gas in cities by encouraging co-generation, gas air conditioning and micro-gas turbines; and will facilitate the development and use of efficient domestic appliances and gas-powered automobiles. The DPJ will promote research and development into new sources of energy, for example NAS batteries, combined coal/gas generation and nuclear fusion.
4) Prioritizing Nuclear Safety
The DPJ will make safety the first priority in nuclear power, continuing, cautiously, with nuclear power for the time being, while ensuring that safety systems can deal with any problem that might arise. A Nuclear Power Safety Regulation Council, independent from the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry and from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, will be established. The new organization will be established under article 3 of the National Administrative Organizations Law to strengthen the autonomy of nuclear regulation and the effectiveness of safety checks. The DPJ recognizes the government's responsibility to take into account the concerns of residents regarding nuclear installations. The DPJ will ensure that budgets for acquiring land for nuclear power are used efficiently and will seek improved infrastructure and equipment for disaster and accident prevention.
The DPJ will only allow a specified proportion of plutonium to be reused, as mixed oxide fuel (MOX), for research and development in fast breeder reactors. The remainder will be put into temporary storage. The DPJ will move forward research and development on the nuclear fuel cycle and establish domestic reprocessing operations. The DPJ will co-operate with other countries on the steady and systematic disposal of radioactive waste and on the technical safety of decommissioning technology.
5) Reflecting the Public's Views in Energy Policy
The DPJ will bring long-term energy supply and demand forecasts under the jurisdiction of the Diet, so that they require Diet approval. In striving for energy security, the DPJ will work to increase the number of countries from which Japan imports energy.
14. SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The DPJ believe that residents of towns, cities and villages throughout Japan should have a say in their own living environment. The DPJ will take town-planning to ordinary citizens, through promotion of decentralization, by supporting imaginative town-planning ideas from towns, cities and villages and by creating a system for ordinary citizens to participate in local town-planning.
Transport infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports and railways, will be provided efficiently and systematically. Public transport will be made barrier free. The DPJ will ensure readiness for disasters and provide a safety net to help rebuild the lives of those who are affected by them, including increased financial assistance to rebuild housing and reform of the various relief systems for disaster victims. The DPJ will seek to clarify the nature and extent of the government's responsibilities.
1) Giving People a Say in Their Own Living Environment
The DPJ will avoid excessive central involvement in urban policy through sweeping decentralization and will ensure the participation of local residents in redevelopment. Infrastructure projects in big cities will include traffic relief, for example through improvements to intersections and measures to relieve congested public transport. The constructive use of PFI (the private finance initiative) will ensure quality and efficiency.
2) Housing Policy for Ordinary Families
The DPJ will make a housing policy that reflects the needs of ordinary people, for example resolving the shortage of medium- and large-sized rental accommodation for families. The DPJ will study how the tax system affects people's housing decisions. To respond to the ageing society, the DPJ will provide support for elderly people who need to move to receive care, and for the construction of homes suitable for nursing care. The DPJ will ensure access to information on buildings' earthquake resistance.
3) Safe and Convenient Transport Systems
The DPJ will create a Basic Transport Law, laying out clearly the right to safe transport accessible by all. The DPJ will seek to fit protective platform barriers and doors in stations, and will improve access to taxis and other transport for the disabled. The DPJ will give legal powers to air staff to deal with passengers who cause trouble during flights.
4) Environmentally Friendly Transport
The DPJ will penalize heavy polluting diesel automobiles, encourage barrier free trams and introduce no car days as part of a policy shift towards environmentally friendly transport and distribution.
5) Making Tourism a Plank of Town Planning
The DPJ will unify the public administration of tourism and town planning, reminding local authorities that town planning does not have to mean public works. The DPJ will create administrative bodies to reap the benefits of cultural and tourist facilities for local economies and local communities.
6) Responding Rapidly to Large Scale Disasters
The DPJ will take measures to improve the government's readiness for large-scale disasters. The DPJ will set up an emergency response organization modeled on the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, responsible for disaster-related information, and will strengthen the relevant powers of the Prime Minister. To speed up initial response after a disaster, complicated bureaucratic procedures and chains of command between the Cabinet, Ministries and government agencies will be streamlined. The DPJ will ensure that sufficient funds are available to provide necessary information handling and emergency relief. The DPJ will promote co-operation and ensure a smooth response from the administrative and executive organizations involved in disaster relief.
7) Supporting the Victims of Disasters
The DPJ will create a Reconstruction Assistance Law to help households whose homes are damaged by natural disasters. The Law on Support for Victims of Natural Disasters will be amended to increase the level of support available, ease the conditions on who can receive financial assistance and ensure that payments are met from the public purse. Those who suffer permanent disabilities from natural disasters will be able to receive a maximum of?･5,000,000 as a one-off permanent disability allowance.
15. AN INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY
During the Cold War, a recently defeated Japan entrusted much of its international decision-making and responsibility to the US, concentrating instead on economic growth. But the Cold War is over, and new problems threaten mankind, including poverty and inequality, human rights abuses, terrorism, threats to the environment, drugs problems, refugees, infectious diseases and nuclear proliferation.
The 21st Century has begun with movement on the Korean Peninsula and a new US Administration. Now is the time for Japan to contribute to the world as a peacemaker and as an independent, sovereign country. The DPJ accepts the facts of Japan's past and seeks harmonious relations with other countries built on trust. The DPJ is committed to work for the development of a prosperous, peaceful and democratic international society.
1) Creative Development of the Japan-US Relationship
The DPJ recognizes the importance of a positive working relationship with the US and of a Japan-US relationship that enhances peace and security, and that is based on the Japan-US Security Alliance. With changes in the global situation, the DPJ will take a fresh look at the Japan-US relationship, reviewing the State of Forces Agreement (SOFA), putting Host Nation Support on a firmer basis and continuing deliberations on a Law on Situations Surrounding Japan.
2) Consolidation of US Military Bases and the Revitalization of Okinawa
The DPJ will work to consolidate US military bases in Japan, over 75% of which are in Okinawa. Respecting and listening to the views of people in Okinawa, the DPJ will start discussion on a follow-up to the report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (a "SACO II") and review the first SACO Report. The DPJ will seek to revise Law on Special Measures for the Transfer of Military Land.
The DPJ will enact a law to revitalize Okinawa's economy, based on the DPJ's Okinawa Revitalization Plan of May 2000. It will seek to create jobs by encouraging venture business and making use of Okinawa's unique advantages.
3) Preparing Japan for Participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations
UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) play an important role in the quest for global peace and stability. The DPJ wants to see Japan play its part, in response to the increasing diversity and complexity of PKOs, which in turn reflect the changing nature of conflicts. Japanese involvement will require study, training, human development and research. The DPJ will review the 5 principles governing Japanese participation in PKOs and lift the freeze on Japan working with main UN forces. The changes envisaged by the DPJ will facilitate Japanese contributions in fields related to redevelopment and reconstruction, civilian policing, institution building and the rebuilding of education and infrastructure.
4) Efficient ODA that Accords with Foreign Policy Priorities
Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is a key part of Japan's contribution to the world. The DPJ will change the focus of ODA spending from construction-centered to human-centered projects, such as human resources development, technical co-operation and humanitarian relief. The DPJ will reduce waste and make procedures for the implementation and procurement of ODA more transparent. By linking ODA with democratization and disarmament, Japan's ODA will be made to contribute to international peace and prosperity. The DPJ will review Japan's diplomatic spending, including contributions to international organizations, to provide better value for money.
5) Setting Laws to Protect Citizens in Times of Emergency
The DPJ will establish a clear legal framework to ensure that government cannot infringe on the rights of the public during times of emergency, such as foreign aggression.
6) Leadership in Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
In line with the DPJ's Nuclear Policy of April 2000 and with the clear goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons, the DPJ will exercise leadership in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The DPJ will work for swift implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and make concrete proposals for a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) and a non-first use treaty. The DPJ will support the establishment of a permanent nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation oversight body; advance the idea of a North East Asian Nuclear Free Zone; build links to nuclear disarmament NGOs; and work to limit the development, transportation and trade of weapons of mass destruction.
7) Working for Peace in North East Asia
The DPJ will take concrete measures to support peace on the Korean Peninsula and will seek close ties with neighboring countries, particularly the Republic of Korea and the US, as well as China and Russia. The DPJ will take a positive stance on the normalization of relations with North Korea and, through resolution of the territorial dispute with Russia over the Northern Islands, on negotiations to conclude a peace treaty with Russia.
8) Promoting and Regional Stability in Asia
The DPJ will continue to engage seriously in bilateral and multilateral forums where Japan is engaged in dialogue with its neighbors, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and APEC. The DPJ will work for stability in Asia through positive leadership, confidence-building and security dialogue. For greater stability in the Asian financial system, the DPJ will seek to have Japan exercise oversight of international speculation, reflecting the lessons learned from the Asian financial crisis.
9) Strengthening Co-operation with the UN and on Global Issues
The DPJ will seek a permanent place for Japan on the UN Security Council, to contribute to global peace and security and work to reform UN institutions as they concern vital global issues. Taking into account the environment and human rights, the DPJ will work to establish fair trading rules for a stable international financial and monetary system. The DPJ will seek close relations with international financial institutions including the World Bank, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, WTO and IMF.
10) Promoting International Exchange
Putting a face to Japan's international relationships, the DPJ will build links with NGOs and non-governmental networks and support the transmission of Japan's traditions, arts and culture overseas, through student exchanges, youth exchange and sporting links.
16. POLICE REFORM AND CRACKING DOWN ON CRIME
There have too many serious scandals recently involving the police. Furthermore, in many cases the police have been seen to respond poorly or without resolve, to requests from the public for help. Many ordinary people are furious at the arrogant, closed, self-protecting and self-serving nature of the police.
It is clear that oversight by the National Security Commission of wrongdoing by the police is not working. The very fact that the police actually do the everyday work of the National Security Commission is indicative of the inappropriate relationship between the overseer and the overseen. The DPJ will reform the way the police work from the perspective of the public and the majority of hardworking and honest police staff. The DPJ will take firm measures too to protect the public from new forms of crime.
1) Making Police Oversight Independent of the Police
The National Security Commission is supposed to be overseeing the police on behalf of the public. But the reality is the exact opposite of what was intended, with the police carrying out the everyday work of the National Security Commission. The DPJ will make the National Security Commission independent of the police and give it its own secretariat. The DPJ will set up a Police Complaints Commission, make the police more open and will change the way senior officers are selected so the system takes account of ability, results and experience. The DPJ will abolish the Law on Communications Interception for Criminal Investigation, which is open to abuse and risks unconstitutional activity, since the police have failed to regain the trust of the public.
2) Measures Against Organized Crime
The threat to public safety from organized crime is on the rise, whether from cults like Aum Shinrikkyo, gangsters, organized foreign criminal gangs or the illegal trade in guns and drugs. To deal with the threat, instead of using the Law on Destructive Behavior, which has a different purpose, or the Law to Punish Organized Crime, the locus of which is too wide, the DPJ will enact a specific Organized Crime Law.
Investigative authorities have failed to keep up with new sorts of crime such as computer crime, stalking and domestic violence. The DPJ will strengthen the investigative system relating to crimes that affect people's lives, with flexible and wide-ranging reform of police organization (which still reflects the original aim of dealing with public security issues in an ideologically divided society) and by a strategic reshuffling of personnel.
The DPJ will overhaul the criminal code, following criticism of overly light sentencing. In addition to the existing life sentence, which allows parole after a minimum of 10 years, the DPJ will introduce life sentence without parole for certain cases of murder.
3) Nipping Youth Crime in the Bud
To decrease youth crime, it is essential to deal with its causes. At present, the places young people experiencing problems can turn to, such as advisory centers, the police and schools, do not coordinate with each other, and their ties with guardians, local residents, volunteer groups and legal professionals are insufficient. As a result, children with problems do not know where to turn for help.
The DPJ will establish local contact meetings to bring together all those involved, including experts in children's welfare. The meetings will be part of a process to ensure guardians and children can receive expert advice quickly, whoever they turn to for help, and that they know what help they can expect from volunteers, lawyers, experts, etc.
4) Enacting a Basic Law for Crime Victims
The DPJ will enact a Basic Law for Crime Victims to recognize their rights and ensure that the system for making payments to crime victims is satisfactory.
Japan's courts are unapproachable and beyond the reach of most citizens. People believe that the courts are opaque and put themselves above ordinary people, partly because of the absence of lawyers willing to narrow that gap. As a result, most disputes are either borne in silence or subject to out of court settlement, political fixing, administrative guidance or the private use of gangsters. This so-called dual justice system demonstrates clearly how the formal legal system does not meet more than a part of what is needed. The DPJ will carry out sweeping reforms of the legal system to create an open and swift system of justice.
1) Big Increases in the Number of Legal Professionals
Japan has just 20,000 legal professionals. The number as a proportion of the population is between four and twenty times smaller than in countries of Europe and America. To give people the legal services they require, the number passing the bar exam should be increased to around 3,000 each year. The eventual target is a population of 100,000 legal professionals. To ensure that quality is maintained as numbers increase, the DPJ will introduce a system of graduate law schools. The DPJ will also increase the role of paralegals, certified accountants, tax specialists, legal and administrative scriveners (drafters) and social security professionals, to give people easier access to the law.
2) Speeding Up the Courts
Under the present system, disputed civil cases inevitably lead to protracted hearings. The DPJ will see that civil courts use concentrated deliberation methods, obliging them to deal with verification of evidence and presentation of evidence quickly and intensively.
3) Employing Judges with Experience of Society
The DPJ will reform the career system for judges, which sends trainees straight from training to work as judges, with promotion based on years of service. The system creates judges lacking experience of society or everyday common sense. Judges are too easily controlled from above. The DPJ will create a system where lawyers with over 10 years legal experience are eligible to become judges. The DPJ will ensure the public's concerns can be reflected when judges are selected.
4) Reflecting the Views of the Public and of Experts in Courts
In order to reflect the values of the public directly in courts, the DPJ will introduce a jury system to Japan, giving defendants the option of being tried by judge or by jury. In civil cases of a specialist nature, for example involving patents, medical malpractice or marine accidents, the DPJ will have experts assist the judges. The DPJ will introduce juries and/or expert advisors in other civil cases and in cases involving public administration.
5. Protecting People's Right to Access to the Law
The DPJ will enact a Law on State-Appointed Lawyers for Crime Victims and will amend the Law on Civil Legal Aid to end the situation where cases are being dropped because people cannot afford access to the law or cannot trust their lawyers.
The LDP, Conservative, Komeito coalition continues to resist moves towards fiscal consolidation. Yet it is considering unaffordable tax cuts, uses the income tax system to give treats to its backers, has weakened progressive taxes such as inheritance tax and has put off important reform such as that of capital gains tax. The DPJ will simplify the tax system and make income tax gender and age neutral. The DPJ recognizes the importance of tax revenue for its social security plans. Although the DPJ will introduce carefully targeted tax allowances to promote economic recovery, environmental sustainability and new business, overall, the number of tax allowances will be reduced.
1) Simplifying Tax and Replacing Tax Allowances with Targeted Social Security
Some aspects of the income tax system still encourage men and women to do different work. The DPJ will make changes to ensure that the system is gender-neutral. The present system of tax allowances, for example for spouses or for dependents, means that many people, even those with incomes above the minimum threshold for paying income tax, pay nothing. Thus the system of tax allowances often benefits the well off. The DPJ will reform tax allowances, with additional tax revenue used to fund necessary social security measures, especially those for families with children. These changes will raise the de facto minimum threshold for paying income tax. But they will also lighten the financial burden on low-income households with children.
The DPJ will calculate all sources of income together, including for example income from employment, from interest and from dividend payments, so that income will be taxed in a coordinated way. This will require taxpayers to have a single tax identification number. At present, individual taxpayers have different, unconnected tax identification numbers for each form of tax they pay on each source of income.
The DPJ will increase the number of ways individuals can pay tax and file returns. Taxpayers will be given a choice whether they wish to have tax payments calculated automatically or to file a return. If they wish, taxpayers will be able to file tax returns electronically. As mentioned above, the DPJ will take tax measures to strengthen NPOs, for example introducing tax allowances for donations to NPOs.
The DPJ will fund basic state pensions entirely from tax revenue and take wide soundings on what tax measures should accompany this change.
To restore trust in the consumption tax system, the DPJ will introduce a system where goods are accounted for by invoice. At present, firms with annual sales under ?･30 million are exempt from consumption tax. The DPJ will reduce that threshold, in fairness to those who do pay consumption tax. Also at present, firms with annual sales of less than ?･200 million can opt for simplified accounting for consumption tax. While simple, the system is opaque and open to abuse. In fairness to those who do pay consumption tax, the DPJ will reduce the threshold at which firms can use the simplified accounting system with the aim of ending the system altogether.
The DPJ will enact a charter of taxpayers' rights from the point of view of individual taxpayers, to guarantee rights such as the right to demand correction of mistakes, make objections, or receive grace periods for paying tax. The DPJ will promote taxpayer education and strengthen fines and other penalties against tax avoidance.
2) Tax Reform for Economic Revitalization and Decentralization
The DPJ will see that local authorities get the tax revenue that the DPJ's decentralization of power requires, by transferring a fixed proportion of income tax revenue to local authorities. The DPJ will also give local authorities' more autonomy on tax. With corporation tax, the basis for companies' liabilities will be changed away from profit and towards turnover. However, the extent and pace of that change will depend on the state of the economy and the situation surrounding small- and medium-sized firms.
Supporting New and Venture Business
To support new and venture business, the DPJ will exempt small- and medium-sized venture companies from corporation tax for their first 5 years. In order to facilitate direct finance to these companies, the DPJ will improve the tax system for "angels" (individual investors who invest directly in small- and medium-sized venture business). The DPJ will make the tax allowances for trial expansions permanent.
Encouraging Environmental Conservation and Sustainability
The DPJ will pursue the basic idea that tax on activities that help the environment should be low and that tax on activities that place a heavy burden on the environment should be high. (For details, paragraph 2 of section 12 above).
Tax Reform to Eliminate Distortions in Land-Use
The DPJ will seek to remove the distortions in land-use created by the existing tax system, making amendments to taxes on fixed assets and inheritance tax and to the way land is evaluated for taxation when ownership changes.
19. ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM
Japan's constitution states that power resides with the people. To make that true, the DPJ will work to change Japan from a country in which the most powerful institution is the bureaucracy, to a country led by democratically elected politicians. Bureaucratic control of government has brought a host of problems. Excessive power of Ministries and agencies for example has led to the arbitrary use of power, the protection of vested interests, government for the few, amakudari, and the monopolization of information. Japan needs democratic political leadership to make swift decisions on policy and to implement policy decisively.
1) Strengthening the Authority of the Prime Minister
The DPJ will amend the Cabinet Law to clarify the Prime Minister's powers of supervision, leadership and decision-making as head of the Cabinet. The DPJ will abolish the council of Vice-Ministers, which can be said to have a degree of decision-making power, in order to bring its authority within the government framework.
2) Widening Information Disclosure to Include Public Corporations and Agencies
The DPJ will strengthen the Information Disclosure Law to include public corporations and other bodies which act on behalf of the administration, from public interest corporations to profit-making companies, within its remit. The DPJ will enact a law regulating the storage and management of administrative information. The DPJ will promote open government, for example making it obligatory to post administrative information on the internet and creating clear guidelines for Ministerial leadership.
3) Loosening Public Servants' Ties to Parent Ministries
The DPJ will change the system of having civil servants employed by and appointed to a parent ministry, with new civil servants instead employed by the civil service as a whole and able to move between Ministries and Agencies. The DPJ will facilitate the employment within public administration of people from outside of the civil service.
In the KSD scandal, the LDP, Ministry of Health and Welfare and public corporations took advantage of small- and medium-sized companies, bought parliamentary questions and seats for cash, invented non-existent members of the LDP and used taxpayers窶 money for their own benefit. The DPJ will take measures to end this sort of disgraceful mutual back scratching between politicians, officials and business interests. The DPJ will reform public corporations, special corporations and approved corporations, which see more than their fair share of these relationships. Amakudari will be strictly limited and political contributions from public, special or approved corporations will be banned.
The DPJ will strengthen the Diet's powers of administrative oversight, checking the sort of waste and secrecy epitomized by the way the Ministry of Foreign Affairs abused and embezzled "secret funds" for years. The DPJ will enact a law to make public finances more transparent and will create a standing system for policy evaluation.
1) Reforming Special, Public and Approved Corporations
All special corporations will be disbanded, privatized or turned into independent administrative corporations. All approved corporations will be reviewed to question whether they should exist. Public interest corporations will be rationalized and the numbers of public interest corporations reduced. Amakudari into public interest corporations or private sector companies which the official concerned should have been monitoring objectively for the public will be strictly curtailed. Political contributions from public corporations, special corporations or approved corporations will be banned.
2) Clearing Away the Fog Surrounding Public Finance
The DPJ will enact a law to make public finances more transparent. Information on public finance will be made available to the public in a form that is easy to understand. Special accounting will be reviewed thoroughly and its use curtailed.
3) Establishing Oversight of the Government and over the Use of Public Money
The DPJ will establish a Japanese equivalent of the US Government Administration Office with power to oversee the administration and conduct checks over the use of taxpayers' money. To improve the efficiency of public administration, the DPJ will introduce a Law to Evaluate Administrative Achievements and create a standing system for policy evaluation. The DPJ will apply strict limits to the use of secret funds and, given that nobody noticed their wholesale abuse for years, will reduce their allocation in the budget. The DPJ will set up a system for appropriate checks by the Diet.
It goes without saying that politicians must gain the trust of the public if they are to exercise effective political leadership. Policy to counteract political corruption is of paramount importance. The DPJ will seek to remove the secrecy surrounding political contributions and end the web of inappropriate relationships between politicians, officials and business interests. The most important aspect of political reform is to ensure the maximum involvement of ordinary people in politics alongside reform toachieve a fair and transparent electoral system. The DPJ is committed to government founded on the authority of the people, where the public exercise control over the government through elections and the government exercise appropriate control over the bureaucracy.
1) Getting Tough on Money Politics
The ruling coalition recently bulldozed the Law against the Inappropriate Use of Political Office through the Diet. It has more holes than a sieve. The DPJ will amend the law to give it practical effect. The DPJ will strengthen the system for making the assets of Diet Members public, for example lifting a ban on taking copies of the reports Diet Members' submit to account for their political funds, and will increase the length of time these reports are stored and remain valid, under the Criminal Code, from 3 to 5 years.
2) More Democracy
The voting age will be lowered to 18. The age at which people become eligible to stand for election will also be lowered. The DPJ will improve the system for having Japanese living overseas vote in constituencies and will give permanent foreign residents in Japan the right to vote in local elections. The DPJ will correct the large difference between the values of individuals' votes. The ban on the use of the internet for election campaigning will be lifted. The DPJ will promote research into electronic voting, and will limit the number of times the same person can be elected to head a local authority to 3 terms (or 12 years). The DPJ will make clear the distinct roles of the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives and pursue reform of both Houses.
3) Reforming the Shape of the Government and the Cabinet
The single-member constituency system introduced in 1998 is based on the idea that voters would be able to choose their Prime Minister after an election based on clear policy choices between parties. Yet after that election a group of 5 LDP figures, without any basis in law, and without any reference to the public, chose Yoshiro Mori as Prime Minister. And it has been that system that has seen Ministers and Vice-Ministers appointed only by faction. This increases the public mistrust of politics and is one of the reasons no politician has been able to exercise leadership. The problem is not so much the system, as the way the LDP-led ruling coalition operates.
To strengthen the Cabinet system, the DPJ will strengthen the powers of the Prime Minister and lengthen the terms Ministers serve. If the conditions needed for the Cabinet system to function properly do not exist, direct elections for Prime Minister will have to be considered. The DPJ will realize a system of local and national referenda to let the public show clearly and directly their views on issues of local and national importance.
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